Beyond the Conventional Symposium - Programme
Thanks for joining us to mark 101’s commissioning of “Outside the Conventional and Into the Mainstream”. This report constitutes the final chapter in the work that we at 101 and Corn Exchange Newbury have been doing for five years with the support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme.
It continues to be a strange and uncertain time for all of us in the arts and a shifting backdrop against which we hold this event. When we started planning prior to Christmas we did not know what February would hold. Whilst some of our worst fears may not have been realised, the clouds of the pandemic still loom all too large. Whatever the future holds in terms of Covid it feels more important than ever to join together in whatever ways we can – live and online – to meet, discuss and debate the issues that matter to us.
The road to the publication of our report has been a long and a fascinating one as we talked to many people, sought to unearth examples of good practice across the country and draw conclusions as to how arts in public space might be best supported to evolve in the future. We hope that the report will be a useful tool but furthermore that it is also a step on a shared journey to create a stronger, healthier and more diverse arts in public space ecology in which we at 101 can continue to play a part.
Thank you to all our panellists, chairs and contributors for agreeing to take part in our symposium and to all our funders including Greenham Common Trust for their continued support.
@101outdoorarts / #101artsinpublicspace
from 11am: In person arrivals
11.50am: Online arrivals & welcome by David Micklem (Writer and consultant)
12 noon: Welcome: Simon Chatterton (101 Outdoor Arts)
12.10pm Introduction: Lyn Gardner (The Stage)
12.20pm Overview of the report and key findings: David Micklem
12.30pm Keynote address: Kully Thiarai (Leeds 2023)
1pm: Lunch (A chance for delegates to work together to explore key questions for arts in public space as it looks to the decade ahead)
2pm -3.10pm Panel session 1: Place
How can arts in public space programmes help in creating a sense of place and reflecting identity and why is this important. How might this shape the nature of the work artists make?
Chaired by Lyn Gardner. Panellists: Ruth Colbridge (National Association of AONB’s), Adriana Marques (Peabody Trust), Sally Lampitt (Applause) Kully Thiarai (Leeds 2023)
3.20pm-4.30pm Panel session 2: People
How can we place people at the heart of making and staging work in public space and best support diversity and new voices in our sector? How can our work not only speak to but involve audiences and enable individual creativity?
Chaired by Lyn Gardner. Panellists: Vicki Amedume (Upswing), Ajay Chhabra (Mela Partnership/Nutkhut), Pax Nindi (Global Carnivalz), Liz Pugh (Walk the Plank), Alicia Smith (Culture Liverpool)
4.30-4.45pm Summing up and Close: Lyn Gardner
Lyn Gardner is a journalist and novelist. She is currently associate editor of The Stage. She has written about theatre and performance for The Guardian and The Independent, and she was a founder member of City Limits, the largest publishing co-op in Europe. She currently writes a strand of articles for the British Council on Culture After Brexit.
Awards for her work include: The 2013 Action for Children’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Arts, the 2017 Total Theatre Significant Contribution Award for her work on the Edinburgh Fringe, the 2017 UK Theatre Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, and a 2018 Tonic Award.
Kully Thiarai is Creative Director and CEO of Leeds 2023 – the city’s international year of culture. Having worked with prestigious arts organisations across the UK, Kully is renowned for her bold and ground-breaking work in the performing arts.
Kully’s extensive experience includes commissioning, producing and directing work nationally and internationally, developing and nurturing talent and creating opportunities for those who may have little or no access to the arts. She has created a diverse range of work that spans communities, cultures and performance styles; has directed large-scale epics, new plays and made work in non-theatre spaces.
Before taking up her position at Leeds 2023, Kully was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre Wales. Her 30 year career also includes being the founding Director of Cast – a £22 million performance venue in Doncaster; Co-Artistic Director of the Leicester Haymarket Theatre; Artistic Director and CEO of Contact Theatre Manchester, Theatre Writing Partnership and Red Ladder Theatre Company. She is a Trustee of Manchester International Festival (MIF), The Art Foundation and Artistic Advisor of Leeds based theatre company Slung Low. Kully is Honorary Fellow of Central School of Speech and Drama and a fellow of the RSA. She was also the winner of the 2020 Cultural Icon Award in The Inaugural Northern Asian powerlist.
Vicki is the Artistic Director and founder of Upswing, an award-winning company at the forefront of contemporary, and has over 20 years of experience of working in circus, outdoor arts and theatre, following her initial training as a research scientist. Upswing productions tell new stories in extraordinary ways, blending aerial, theatre, dance, text and multimedia to create fresh experiences with narrative punch. Vicki has performed and created aerial and circus based work that has been performed in the UK and worldwide working across all spheres of circus from traditional touring tented circuses to large-scale outdoor spaces and intimate touring indoor theatre. Vicki is an Associate Director at The New Vic, a 600 seater in the round producing house in Staffordshire and an Associate Director at The Albany, Deptford supporting the development of the Lewisham's 2022 London Borough of Culture programme.
Ajay Chhabra is an Actor and Artistic Director of Nutkhut.
The son of a partition survivor and the great grandson of an indentured labourer. His curiosity with life and death and everything in between, resulted in the creation of award-winning outdoor performance company Nutkhut with Simmy Gupta. Nutkhut creates festivals, digital artworks and theatrical moments which bring people together, under single, universal experiences.
Ajay is the founder of the London Mela and the UK wide network - Mela Partnership. He is a recipient of an AMA Award for Best live event 2019.
He created Dr Blighty, which headlined Brighton Festival and took the city by surprise - this seminal centenary piece attracted over 1 million people, a hybrid first for UK Outdoor Arts and engaged with the forgotten story of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Gurkhas who contributed to the Great War.
In 2021 to mark the centenary of the abolition of Indentured Labour, he created ‘The Girmit Experience’ a 360 VR, oral history project. Girmit won a People’s Lovie Award 2021 for VR/360, Best Social Film at the Gully International Film Festival 2021 and finalists for 2021 Tech4Good Awards.
A Governor of the Commonwealth Foundation, Ajay serves the Europe region. As an advisor to the Mayor of London, he focuses on access and inclusion for all. He is a trustee of Creative Kernow, a creative and sector support organisation for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, a board member for Outdoor Arts UK and a trustee of Tara Theatre, the first Asian, Black and ethnically diverse theatre company in the UK.
Creative Producer and Co-founder of Walk the Plank, Liz leads teams working on festivals, parades, and site-specific performances. As a producer of large scale outdoor performances that have participation at their heart, she has been artistic director for Hull Freedom Festival (2013-15), made Manchester Day happen since its inception (2010-22), created the opening for Pafos: EU Capital of Culture 2017; and staged Wales’ largest outdoor bilingual performance for Wales Millennium Centre (2015) – all diverse platforms which offer the chance for meaningful exchange between artists and new audiences.
Liz is the Country Producer (Wales) for Green Space Dark Skies, as well as working with the project’s learning and engagement teams across the UK, using her knowledge of contemporary participatory arts practice and extensive experience of working with diverse communities to make work in public space and realise large scale civic celebrations.
As well as creating ambitious transnational events, Liz has worked with British Council’s Cultural Skills team to lead Festival Management Training in West Africa, the Caribbean and Ukraine; co-designed two European training programmes: School of Participation(2019-21), School of Spectacle (2017-19); and designed training to build the capacity of artists and communities across Wales: Awen Schools, supported by Arts Council Wales.
Adriana is an experienced curator and cultural strategist, with specialist knowledge of culture led regeneration projects. She is leading an ambitious and long term cultural plan for Thamesmead with Peabody. This includes visioning London’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan for Thamesmead; new creative workspaces at the iconic Lakeside Centre in partnership with Bow Arts; a series of community-led and festivals and commissions; a community radio station and archive led by local arts organisation TACO!; annual partnership with Greenwich+Docklands International Festival; and the recent £1m award of Creative People and Places funding from Arts Council England.
Adriana is previously known for delivering the public art commissions throughout the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games, and then leading the cultural programme for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park including brokering partnerships between the V&A, London College of Fashion, Sadler Wells and existing local organisations around Stratford and Hackney Wick.
She is the author of "Open Space", an advocacy publication for Arts Council England on best practice public art in London; and ran the contemporary art programme at the Austrian Cultural Forum for 7 years.
She is an RSA Fellow, former member of the Old Oak and Park Royal Place Review Panel; and part of University of the Arts Professional Mentorship Programme supporting undergraduate art students.
Pax Nindi is a renowned international Carnival expert who organises and consults on carnivals around the UK and globally. Being an advocate for Carnival arts, in 2007 he wrote and published England’s National Carnival Strategy as part of his work with Arts Council England where he initiated the first strategies on Circus and Street Arts. Within ACE he initiated, edited and published the On Route Art of Carnival book, developed and produced 3 International Carnivals and several National Conferences in the UK.
In 2010 he set up Global Carnivalz Limited a company whose slogan is “Anything Carnival is Our Business”. Within that he developed various Carnival schemes and consultations e.g. Junkanew TV Livestreams, National Carnival Guide, UK Carnival Guild as well as run Carnivals such as St Pauls Carnival(Bristol), Cowley Road Carnival(Oxford), Hull International Carnival(Hull), Hackney Carnival(London), Abuja Carnival (Nigeria), Accra Carnival (Ghana), Isiolo Peace Carnival(Kenya) and is responsible for the Brazilian elements of Notting Hill Carnival.
He is on several boards e.g. Vice President World Carnival Commission(Canada), Trustee at Planet Action Street Arts, Newbias Records CIC, Jackson Lane Theatre, Tumaini Education Trust(Kenya), Patron of Culturemix(Reading) and Soul of Africa(Ethiopia/UK)
Alicia has always had a passion for all things creative. In her early career she trained as a dancer, performing on worldwide stages.
Having various roles within the cultural sector, Alicia now heads up the Arts & Participation team for Culture Liverpool. Leading the way on the strategic cultural development for the city in collaboration with many partners.
Her wealth of knowledge and experience pays dividends to that, having worked on many innovative projects. producing large scale multi partnership cultural projects across a wide range of art forms regionally, nationally, and internationally. The European Capital of Culture 2008 programme of events, the Giant Spectacular trilogy, the Vitality Netball World Cup, RISE, ‘Sgt Pepper at 50’ celebrations, UNESCO City of Music as well as studies into the social impact of arts and position as lead officer for Culture Liverpool Arts Council England’s National Portfolio status to name a few.
An avid advocate for the arts, Alicia is a familiar face on the national and international networking circuit providing help and advice on best practice for culture programmes, cultural experiences and cultural journeys.
Sally is the Programme Lead & Deputy Director of Applause. Applause brings exceptional performances to the heart of local communities.
Sally’s passionate about life and never happier when visiting a gallery, theatre or music venue. She has extensive experience of working in the arts as a freelance producer and project manager and recent highlights in her career include commissioning and producing a community Opera ‘PUSH’ with Glyndebourne, bringing the Winter Giant to Battle Festival and managing Hastings Fat Tuesday Music Festival. Having spent a few years managing the Outdoors programme at Applause she now leads on our artistic programming, working with some of the UK's most exciting artists and companies to create and curate shows for our rural promoters.
The UK has 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, landscapes important enough to be protected for the nation. The legislation that led to their creation was passed in 1949 – sister legislation to that which set up the NHS – one to look after the nation’s health, the other its wellbeing.
As the opening sentences here demonstrate… very often we see landscape through the lens of policy. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty teams have begun to explore working with artists to help us interpret these landscapes, and to reach a wider audience who we hope will develop their own deep, life-long relationship with these places, on their terms.
Place is a deceptively simple concept. The product of landform, climate and geology which dictate the species that thrive; human action developing industry, heritage, language and culture. Natural beauty is an even more difficult concept, itself the result – at least partially – of human action. The benefits of time spent in beauty are well known, if still difficult to define. What we know is that this is felt, and if almost impossible to measure, still of immeasurable value.
We know also that there are barriers to access, and we know that these spaces can be intimidating.
Various AONB teams have worked with artists over the years, but on a national basis, we began in 2019 when the National Association for AONBs commissioned a new poem by UK Laureate Simon Armitage. This led to a successful bid to Arts Council England to commission an Arts strategy and a series of training workshops for AONB staff in how to work with
artists. The strategy has since been adopted by most AONB Partnerships. The NAAONB is currently working with ACE to sign an MOU which we hope will happen in the next few months.
Simon has worked for over twenty years as an producer creating arts in public space in the UK and internationally. His work has brought performances to audiences of over a quarter of million people in locations as diverse as town squares and city streets, iron age hill forts, disused railway arches and public parks and gardens.
Simon is the founder and Strategic Lead for 101 Outdoor Arts – National Centre for Art in Public Space, a 20,000sqft space comprising high ceilinged creation spaces, fabrication workshop, rehearsal and meeting facilities as well as on-site living and accommodation space. 101 is a major national hub for artist development and innovation in outdoor and site-specific work, hosting over 16,000 artist days of residencies since its inception in 2017.
Simon is a highly experienced commissioner of outdoor performance, having worked to establish consortia of festivals and venues and to produce new work with over numerous artists and companies. He spent many years creating festival and events programmes working in cities and towns across the UK including five years as co-artistic director of the Inside Out festival in Dorset with Bill Gee. As a producer he has created major artistic projects in outdoor and site-specific contexts in the UK and abroad. His international experience has included touring and producing outdoor and site-specific performance and circus productions across the world in countries including France, Spain, Holland, the United States, Vietnam and Mexico, NZ, Croatia, China, Canada and Australia. He spent three months working with the Zacatecas Festival in Mexico building relationships with the country’s major street arts presenters and as part of a South Bank Cultural Fellowship.
On an ongoing basis Simon produces the work of artists including Ray Lee, whose epic site-specific promenade Points of Departure, was the centrepiece of the 2021 Brighton Festival, and the sound and light installation project Power Plant which after huge success in Edinburgh has now sold 75,000 tickets worldwide. Simon has toured Power Plant to Sydney Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Zealand Festival and Ten Days on the Island in Tasmania.
Simon has worked over many years on the strategic development of outdoor performance in the UK. He has developed showcasing events in major European festivals and advised on the development of strategy for local authorities and other organisations. For five years he was a board member of Xtrax, project managers of Without Walls and the organiser of three Arts Council England Decibel showcases and was a board member of Winchester Hat Fair. He has recently commissioned and co-authored a national strategy report on arts in public space with David Micklem and Sud Basu.
Simon has been recently developing a wider interest in cultural leadership and talent development models – an alumni of a number of leadership schemes including the Clore Pulse programme he has worked to create leadership initiatives focused in particular on Arts in Public Space, working with producers, production managers and artists.
A writer, producer, experienced cultural leader and strategic thinker with a demonstrable track record in supporting artists and arts organisations, delivering significant arts projects and influencing policy. Over the past decade he has worked in the UK and overseas across a range of contexts, scales and artforms. Recent clients include London's Southbank Centre, Scotland's Eden Court, the British Council, Arts Councils in Wales and England, Contact in Manchester and Block9.With considerable experience as a producer, programmer and arts leader he has played a central role in some of the most talked-about performance projects of the last two decades including Punchdrunk’s mould-breaking The Masque of the Red Death, Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant and WildWorks’ BABEL.David’s key strengths include a producer’s eye for world-class new talent, a formidable track-record as a fundraiser and a leader’s ability to create a powerful sense of community amongst the artists, staff and audiences with whom he works. He is a passionate advocate for the role of creativity at the centre of civic society and in theatre’s ability to forge both temporary and lasting communities. He is the co-founder of 64 Million Artists and an Associate with peoplemakeitwork and FutureCity.David is also a writer. His first novel The Winter Son is currently under submission. He is represented by Robert Caskie at Caskie Mushens http://www.caskiemushens.com/authors/#/david-micklem-1/